It’s estimated that bees pollinate around 30% of food crops worldwide. In other words, these vital pollinators are absolutely essential for global food production and, consequently, global food security.
Unfortunately, though, the heavy use of pesticides globally has led to a significant decline in bee numbers. For example, in South West China, pesticide use has completely wiped out bee populations over the past 20 years. As a result, land farmers and orchardists are now forced to pollinate plants and vegetables by hand with feathers dipped in pollen jars.
That’s why bees need all the help they can get, so anything you can do to encourage their numbers to thrive in your garden is highly beneficial.
Here are a few tips to help our bee friends:
- Encourage bio-diversity in your garden – grow a range of different plants that flower in each season so bees always have some food available.
- Let herbs (and other plants) flower as late into autumn as they want. Try to resist pulling them out until after frost has taken its toll on them.
- Provide bees with sheltered spaces in your garden where they can escape wind and rain.
- Become a bee keeper and keep your own bees at home. The bottom line is that if more people raise bees, there numbers will flourish and we’ll be reaping the rewards of their pollination efforts for generations to come.
- Use pesticides in your garden. Some chemicals might hurt honey bees. Try and use as many organic pest solutions as you can.
- If you absolutely must treat against pests, do so in the evening after bees have gone home and don’t spray the actual flowers themselves, as this is inevitably where bees land.